The Spanish-Cuban-American War marks a watershed in the history of the United States, signaling its rise as an intercontinental power. Following the 1899 Treaty of Paris, the North American republic took possession of Cuba and Puerto Rico, wresting Spain’s last two colonies in the Americas. Cuba declared its independence in 1902, but the United States retained indirect control by establishing a protectorate over the new nation through the Platt Amendment. Puerto Rico suffered a different fate. The United States ruled the smaller territory through successive military and civilian administrations, and, in March 1917, Congress passed the Jones-Shafroth Act that granted (or imposed, depending on one’s point of view) limited US citizenship to the islanders. Two months later, Puerto Rican men became eligible to be drafted into the US armed forces, in time for their deployment during World War I. Since 1898,...

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